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Dramatized atomic evacuation of Portland, Oregon.
This movie is part of the collection: Prelinger Archives
Producer: CBS Television Network
Audio/Visual: Sd, B&W
Keywords: Atomic-nuclear: Civil defense; Cold War; Oregon
Creative Commons license: Public Domain
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Subject: Fear is more effective than force
It's easier to control people using fear than with force. The brutal ancient theocracies of Egypt, Mexico, etc., did not have the capacity to exploit large populations by exercising only violence; they had to make the average person afraid to resist by claiming to possess supernatural powers.
The same fraudulent system exists today except the present-day pseudo-scientific establishment claims to have vast technological powers instead of supernatural: Do what we tell you because we are the only force that can protect you from the nuclear boogeyman... THE BIG BAD SCARY BOMB!
Stop being so gullible. It's all a giant hoax meant to enslave you. If atomic bombs could be built using 1940s technology, by now, 60 years later, in the 21st century, every country in the world would have them.
The fact that there has not been a "nuclear attack" since 1945 proves that they don't work and that THE BOMB is indeed one of the biggest scams of all time.
Don't believe it's possible to bamboozle millions of people into believing in farfetched claims? What about all the many different fantastical religions today and throughout history, religions with millions of fervent adherents? Are all these religions true or have millions and even billions been deceived by the liars and criminals who rule over them?
Google: a-bomb kid
Google: This experiment proved that anyone could design a nuclear weapon
Subject: "Nothing to Fear."
Well, actually, there was quite a lot to fear even from the Atomic Bomb (which one of the reviewers derides) as well as from the Hydrogen Bomb.
The Atomic Bombs dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki (called "minor" by today's standards) have continued to kill people right through today thanks to the radiation poisoning they suffered as children. Various types of Cancer and other diseases are symptoms of that and fatal.
The Hydrogen Bomb would just vaporize the whole city and everyone in it or anywhere near it. As to the effects of fall-out...a safe distance is hard to calculate. I'd recommend New Zealand.
When I was in school we had that whole "duck and cover" routine which is what they told us to do as soon as we saw the flash of a nuclear explosion. Other than putting you in the perfect position for kissing your ass goodbye it would have been futile. If the bomb didn't get you, the roof falling on you very likely would.
And if that didn't the fall-out would kill you.
If you're at or anywhere near ground zero when one of these goes off you won't survive to "defend" anything.
Subject: HabboX - I'd like to record an interview with the person you spoke to
Hey HabboX, I am working on a short documentary project film for a contest (info about that here:
If you are able to connect me with the person you know who saw "A Day Called X" when it first aired, I would like to record a brief interview with them.
I can be reached at email@example.com - thanks
Subject: DAY CALLED X, Powerful for its day (Part 1 & 2)
(Part 1 & 2 make up the complete film)
Made in 1958 by CBS, this Civil Defense film made in Portland, Oregon was hosted by actor Glenn Ford. Somewhat naive when compared to today, it must have been effective for the viewers of that generation. Historically, it is very interesting.
Subject: Interesting ...
I've watched this several times ... it's quite a fascinating program! Although I doubt that if I were around when this program originally aired I'd have felt this way.
There's something I noticed, however, while watching it that rather perplexes me. I looked up KOIN-AM on Google (and by the way, for those not living in Portland the station's now known by another name), and found out that it broadcast at 970 on the AM dial. This is what gets me: if you look closely at the setting of the dial on the radio (a very nice Arvin model ... perhaps an early transistor one) it appears to be tuned somewhere around 570 kHz and not 970 kHz. What's up with that?
Subject: Very nice job by CBS/DCPA
I saw this several times and I still don't see how CBS managed to snag Glenn Ford. Never today will Hollywood wiggle onto the small screen for a documentary.
This was a well-done, no-political bias documentary. I do wonder why they had a Foley editor (man/woman who makes noise for soundtracks)dub the sound of another air raid siren when the big Chrysler Victory Sirens whirled and whined? Visit victorysiren.com to hear what one really sounds like.
Aside from the nitpicking I am impressed. We could've used Portland's mayor in Hurricane Katrina!
Subject: Very unnerving...
Gee, if I was a kid in the 1957-1958 period (that's the estimated time this TV special was originally presented), I wouldn't like this happening in my area! The main part of this film is a HUGE air-raid siren BLARING LOUDLY throughout town. Also I find the "An Attack Is Not Taking Place" disclaimer a bit humorous.
Also, I happen to know that H-bombs (hydrogen bombs) are more powerful than A-bombs. I bet with a huge flash and KABOOM! they can take down a whole city. The idea does give me chills, but I am glad the only bombs that were "dropped" here in America were only when we were testing the bombs in deserts and such.
But, I can see why they'd need to evacuate the city of Portland. In other Civil Defense films (such as "Our Cities Must Fight") they talk about you should STAY in the town and fight back. But that's because those were the days of the A-bomb, BEFORE the deadly H-bomb was introduced.
And another thing, it may be interesting to know the wailing alarm used in this program is one of those Chrysler air raid sirens, probably the most powerful and loudest, ear-shattering air raid sirens EVER! This is all according to research of this webpage I found.
I think I should email the owner of the site and tell him about this film.
Overall, a dramatic suspense-filled TV special, sure to keep you at the edge of your seat!
Steve Nordby -
Subject: "There are no actors in this story!"
What if everything in the world went perfect and according to plan, but still the Russians flew some slow moving bombers toward the USA? No problem! They've got hours to move 400,000 people, and of course they will be safe if we just move them a few miles from downtown. No cars or trucks will break down and block traffic. All the children will behave like angels. Those hospitalized can easily be transported in moving vans. No one will panic. The police will gladly stay on their downtown assignments. No communications breakdowns will occur. And the existing city authorities have made plans to keep the power structure intact so they can rule after the worst happens. This fantasyland brought to you by CBS News.
Subject: Oh Glenn!
Glenn Ford narrates this excellently paced film about the possible nuke-u-lar attack on Portland Oregon. Well thought out pace and narration add to the mounting tension to this film to great effect. The film stars the 'people of Portland' who are all coming from the 'One Note School Of Acting' where they are taught to act in one expression only, and that's boredom. Why are people so glum? Even before the attack. the people look bored out of their mind! (insert Portland Joke here). By the way, there's a huge cheat that happens in the film....
Subject: Homeland Defense
The Prelinger Archives dates this film to about 1955. It was probably made about 1958 or 1959. The narrator, Glenn Ford, mentions artificial satellites. Sputnik was launched in October 1957. The film also does not use actors but rather actual citizens or Portland. The Mayor, Terry D. Schrunk didn't become the Mayor of Portland until 1957.
"AN ATTACK IS NOT TAKING PLACE" I love this disclaimer. I'm sure there was a lot of talk at CBS about making a 'reality-based' program such as this. Before television the CBS network had a lot of publicity problems when "War of the Worlds" aired on the radio, creating fears of an alien invasion.
I believe that in 1959 the Director of the CIA toured television stations across the nation in a campaign to increase awareness of the threat of Communism. It is likely that this film was shown by CBS affiliates during that year.
The film is very good and definitely is educational in that it is an example of how Civil Defense was supposed to work. Today we have Homeland Security which can be compared to the Civil Defense of the 1950's and 1960's.
There is an example of the Conelrad Radio Alert. You might recall that AM radios had hash marks on the dial at 640 and 1240 kHz so that you could quickly tune your radio to hear Civil Defense information.
To a young person watching this film today it might seem amusing. However, I spoke to a person that vividly recalls watching this, as a child, when it originally aired. He says that it was very frightening and gave him nightmares.
This is a very skillfully directed film. Read the timeline notes for details on certain camera shots designed to evoke emotion from the viewer. I would recommend this film for its Historical significance.